At severe risk of o.d.ing on Dylan this year, we’ve decided to concentrate on what could be called ‘Dylan Quirk’ that is strangely tangential, even lateral interpretations and offshoots from his oeuvre.
In fact we’re going to attempt to gather a 100 of them… so please send any you may have over. And thanks to our first contributor here we’re going to call them 100 Quirky DTs
This comes from artist Karin Mear in Brecon in her wholeheartedly quirky blog:
March 27, 2014
It’s the Dylan Thomas Centenary this year – he was born on October 27, 1914 – and there are events taking place all over Wales. I too have produced some Dylan Thomas-inspired work this year but my biggest Dylan Thomas project was in
November 2012 when The Hours Cafe & Bookshop in Brecon invited me to have an exhibition in their lovely upstairs gallery with creaky, sloping floorboards. I spent six months producing paintings inspired by Under Milk Wood and called the exhibition Under The Washing Line as homage to the character Polly Garter whose vulnerability and naivety touched me – she had several children, all by different fathers and all she really wanted was to be loved:
“Me, Polly Garter, under the washing line, giving the breast in the garden to my bonny new baby. Nothing grows in our garden, only washing. And babies. And where’s their fathers live, my love? Over the hills and far away.”
I included baskets of washing in the exhibition along with babies and fishing nets and a soundscape, specially composed by my partner Nigel Evans set the scene. Some visitors to the exhibition were disturbed by a couple of the pieces on show saying they didn’t like the ‘dolls’. But hey, it’s art…at least in my eyes
The play, Under Milk Wood, appears at first to be full of humour but it’s actually very dark and Dylan Thomas painted a picture of a small, Welsh fishing village full of do-gooders, and mischief makers. Sex prevails in this village, along with unrequited love, hypocrisy and regret. It is a village that I recognise however as the characters are almost identifiable as people I knew when I was growing up and the colloquialisms are spot on. Very West Wales. And very Aberdare too.
I doubt whether I’ll ever share a gallery wall with a great artist such as Peter Blake but seeing as he recently had an exhibition in Cardiff Museum of his Under Milk Wood illustrations I’m going to indulge myself and share this space with him
The illustrations took him twenty five years to complete (he says he hasn’t finished yet) and the exhibition included portraits, dreams from the play and other observations in a mix of media including collage, and photographs that Blake took himself in Laugharne in the 1970s.
I’m drawn to ‘Slow Clocks’ (above) which was inspired by the Lord Cut Glass character, not least because I tackled the same subject for a recent exhibition at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon (I can spell by the way – Theatr is Theatre in Welsh, but without an ‘e’, just like me). For this piece I decided to break away from my favourite medium of acrylic paint and make working clocks based on Dylan Thomas’s description of Lord Cut Glass;
“Lord Cut-Glass, in his kitchen full of time, squats down
alone to a dogdish, marked Fido, of peppery fish-scraps
and listens to the voices of his sixty-six clocks…”
I imagined a back kitchen full of clocks all greasy and smelling of fish, ticking away, as time passed by and a Google search provided enough images for me to make the clocks. As each clock was assembled the ticking in my little studio room got louder which was a bit of a challenge as I don’t like background noises, especially ticking. Tick tock tick tock tick tock…
If you like creepy stuff you can watch the video I made here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9C85rLst0I
I haven’t finished with Dylan Thomas yet. I doubt I ever will – so I do have something in common with Peter Blake.
I’ve been invited to take part in an exhibition in The Hours Cafe & Bookshop, Brecon, later on this year. All of the artists taking part have been given a Dylan Thomas poem as a theme, but I’m not going to reveal mine just yet. I’ll let you know nearer the time… when I’ve worked out what he’s saying!
Thanks to It’s Karin with an i